Former police officer, summarily dismissed after 2016 coup attempt, dies by suicide

A former police officer who was summarily fired by a government decree after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016 took his own life on Thursday, the Bold Medya news website reported.

Mehmet Ali Gündoğan, 47, had been suffering from psychological problems ever since he was fired and had separated from his wife two years ago. He was living alone in central Turkey’s Çorum province.

His colleagues and other former public servants who had also been fired expressed their grief over his death on social media.

“We are extremely saddened over the death of former police officer Gündoğan and send our condolences to his family,” said a Twitter account managed by former public servants.

 

Another similar Twitter account expressed condolences and said the mass purge of public servants after coup attempt had caused unprecedented consequences.

“This police officer could not stand the injustice that was inflicted on him. Government decrees have torn this society apart,” they said.

Suicide is becoming worryingly common among purge victims, with at least three taking their own lives in March, according to local media reports.

At least 84 people in Turkey have died by suicide as a result of the post-coup purge since 2016, according to data released by the Brussels-based human rights monitor Solidarity with OTHERS.

Following the failed coup, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 29,444 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

The government also shut down 164 media organizations, 1,058 educational institutions and 1,769 NGOs.

Former public servants were not only fired from their jobs; they were also prohibited from working again in the public sector and getting a passport. The government also made it difficult for them to work formally in the private sector. Notes were put on the social security database about dismissed public servants to deter potential employers.

According to a joint report by the Justice for Victims Platform and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, the two-year-long state of emergency declared after the failed putsch caused immense suffering among public servants who were dismissed from their jobs by the government as well as their families.

The biggest problem they have been facing is economic hardship (97.9 percent) followed by psychological problems (88.6 percent), loss of social prestige and social exclusion (83.7 percent), the disintegration of social circles (83.1 percent), unemployment/lack of employment (80.4 percent) and lack of social security (73.2 percent).

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